Even though the first season concluded on the Cartoon Network just this past Saturday, the second season of the fantastic animated series Young Justice begins this coming Saturday, April 28, with the first part of a 20-episode season subtitled Invasion.
If you haven't seen Young Justice already, and are a fan of DC Comics, you're missing out. However, a new season arc might be the perfect chance to hop in. KSiteTV's Craig Byrne spoke yesterday with the series' executive producers and architects, Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, about what we have to look forward to in the second season.
We're presenting the interview in Q & A style with questions in bold. Please do not copy and paste this interview onto other websites; instead, just link to KSiteTV. "GW" is, of course, an abbreviation for when Greg Weisman is answering; "BV" is there for Brandon Vietti. Enjoy:
KSITETV: Season 2 of Young Justice is subtitled Invasion. Who is it that is doing the invading?
GW: It's not just one alien race. We've got something like eight or nine alien races at one point or another hitting the Earth throughout the season. Earth has had the spotlight shone on it, and the galaxy's taking notice. I'm not going to get to specifics about it, but we definitely have a cascading alien danger.
In the finale, Vandal Savage referred to a "Phase Two." Does this have anything to do with the coming Invasion?
GW: It does. Everything ties in, going frankly all the way back to Episode 1 of Season 1, but definitely Episode 26, our finale of Season 1, which aired this past weekend.
When we designed the show, we didn't know that Episode 1 of Season 2 would air literally one week after, but it's pretty cool, because it really lets our momentum go right into the new season. The episode literally starts where the previous episode left off, and things get pretty intense very quickly.
What kind of journey is Red Arrow going to be going on, now that he knows he's not really Roy?
GW: It's a downward spiral at first, frankly. And that very way you phrased that, that he's not really Roy, is going to be a big issue for him. He's not the original Roy, but is he really Roy or not? That's one of the questions that he's going to be dealing with throughout the season. He's got this overall goal to find the original Speedy, the original Roy Harper. Obviously I'm not going to say whether he succeeds or not. A lot of characters on the show are convinced that The Light didn't keep the original Roy Harper alive.
BV: It's one of the great personal journeys that we've got in our second season. So much of our second season is focused on the invasion. Roy Harper's story was actually the great little side story for us to explore and tell throughout the second season.
On the subject of clones, have we seen the last of the patches that gave Superboy full Kryptonian powers?
There was some kissing going on at New Year's. Will any of those relationships be continuing on into Season Two?
GW: You know, a couple of them are definitely a big issue for Season Two, and a couple of them, not so much. No spoilers.
How quickly do we go into the missing 16 hours of the Justice Leaguers?
GW: That's an issue from Moment One. Literally, minute one of episode one of Season 2, and it's something that they begin to address right off the bat. Frankly, it's an ongoing subplot for the entire season, all the way through Episode 20. It's not something that we let sleep for a while. It is something that we deal with right off the bat, and continue to do.
Will we be seeing any more female heroes on the show in Season 2?
BV: Yes. [laughs]
Beyond the one that was in the trailer [Wonder Girl], are you allowed to talk about any of them?
BV: We've announced a few. At this point I've forgotten exactly...
GW: Batgirl, Bumblebee, Wonder Girl, and that's just the start.
Will Rocket be sticking around with the team? She's pretty cool.
GW: Rocket is very cool, and she's sticking around. I'm not going to go into specifics of her situation...
BV: But you will see her in Season Two.
GW: In fact, you'll see her in the first episode.
Will any costumes be changing for Season Two?
BV: Yeah. A little bit. There's no huge, dramatic leaps in costume, I don't think. You're not going to see anything wildly new or different from what you'd expect from comic book heroes that you know and love, but yeah. There's some little tailoring adjustments here and there.
How many episodes are planned for Season Two?
Will the schedule be more consistent for the second season than it was for the first?
BV: We'd love to be able to tell you, but it's our friends at Cartoon Network that determine the scheduling. That's a whole other building in a whole other state. We leave that up to them.
When we talked at Wondercon, you talked about how much of the series was conceived at the beginning. As you got through the first season, did any of the characters surprise you?
GW: In some ways, they all surprised me. Everything's been pretty well planned out, but you learn stuff as you go. As you write characters... certainly as you record them. The actors always bring something into the characters, which in turn influences the writing. Then we have these great artists on the show, and often times, we'll write and even record characters before we've got a design completed, and then we see the character looks like and we're like 'Wow. This guy or this gal's really cool.' Every time we get an episode back from Korea, even, where we see the animation for the first time, there's something in each and every one where we're sort of like 'that really works!' And it informs everything that follows.
Are there any more big guest voice actors coming up that we can look forward to hearing?
GW: We don't want to spoil all of them, but we've got a few coming up. A triumverate of big names, even in this first episode that we're introducing. We've got Mae Whitman from Parenthood and Arrested Development. She plays Wonder Girl. And we have Michael Trucco from Battlestar Galactica as Adam Strange. For me, the one that's just a ton of fun is we've got Tim Curry playing G. Gordon Godfrey. That was just a really fun character to write, and then every time we'd come in to the booth, Tim would take what we wrote, and just run with it. We were always cracking up, and that freed us up the next time we wrote for the character, when we went even further and then HE'D go even further. Tim's character runs through all 20 episodes, and Godfrey just was a huge kick to write.
Peter David wrote an episode with a very familiar sounding web-swinger. Who was responsible for bringing that in?
GW: I guess that was me. I just thought it would be a fun little inside joke for fans of Spectacular Spider-Man, to cast Josh Keaton as the Black Spider. Josh came in, and he's like 'How do you want to do this?' And I'm like 'Well, think of Peter Parker at age 25 instead of 15, and evil.' So we were sort of hitting that one on the head. It was just a throaway teaser kind of thing. I think it was a fun inside joke. I don't want to take it too seriously. We had fun with it.
That was one of the many things that the show has done to appeal to older fans as well as the younger audience. How do you balance that, and is it a concerted effort to appeal to everybody?
GW: Absolutely. We definitely don't want to be too adult, but we don't want to be too kiddie. we love to know that adult fans of DC Comics can tune in, maybe with their kids, and watch this together, and they'll each have a good time with it, and get something out of it. We try to hit the broadest possible audience with the material that we put together.
There are many teen heroes in the DC Universe that actually come from the future. Might we be seeing any of them in Season 2?
GW: No comment.
Beyond Season 2, would you have a planned arc if the Cartoon Network says they want a third year?
GW: Absolutely. I've got an entire bulletin board I'm staring at right now, just full of story ideas for Season Three. So if they want it... frankly, we could go through Season 5, 6, 7 without a hell of a lot of problems.
BV: The brain storming during the first two seasons, we came up with so many stories that just would not fit into 26 episodes or 20 episodes. So, yeah. There's a lot of leftover story ideas we would love to explore. Even new stories.... new arcs that we'd love to plan. Any time you come to the end of a season and you've watched how your characters evolved through the course of that season, you can't help but to think 'man, you know what would be great to happen next?' Just a whole bunch of new ideas come up. So, yeah. We're loaded with ideas and ready to go for a third season if we can get one.
GW: We also have the companion comic book Young Justice, so some of those stories that Brandon just talked about will be actually appearing in Young Justice the comic book. They're all in-continuity; they have time stamps just like our episodes have time stamps, so if you're a big time fan and you're following along and you want to know 'well, where exactly does this story fit into the continuity?' It's easy to figure out. You know exactly what day, what hour, what minute events are taking place, and all of those are part of this ridiculous 191 page timeline that I've got for the series.
BV: Very recently, it was announced that there's a video game [coming] for Young Justice. We worked very closely with the guys making that game to put together a story that's in line, in continuity with our series. So that's something else for fans to look forward to.
Can you tease Saturday's season premiere?
GW: We've got a lot of big events taking place. We're introducing new characters, as we've mentioned. The Main Man is coming in. We've got Lobo. So, I think that's enough said.
And there you have it! Our thanks to Mr. Weisman and Mr. Vietti for their time. Be sure to watch the premiere of Young Justice: Invasion on the Cartoon Network Saturday morning! You can find more YJ coverage, including images from the premiere, here at KSiteTV.